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When Sexual Assault Is Reported:

From the first moment a student reports a sexual assault or it otherwise becomes known, it is the responsibility of every member of our University community to take the matter seriously and act to protect and support that student. Student victims are offered a wide range of services and information, including transportation to a hospital, counseling services and information and reference guides to the services and resources available on campus and in the community. (A brochure detailing services that was authored by the President’s Advisory Council Against Gender-Based Violence can be found here: http://www.frostburg.edu/fsu/assets/File/gbv/Sexual%20Assault%20Bro_WEB.pdf).

While it is not required, victims are encouraged to report their assault. Requests by a victim to keep their report confidential are honored to the extent that the University can do so and still comply with both the law and its duty to keep the rest of the campus community safe. In addition, it is the policy of the University that any member of our community who becomes aware of a sexual assault or a possible occurrence of sexual violence should report it to an appropriate authority. Reports of sexual violence or assault may be made to the police (911 or FSU Police at 301-687-4222), Student and Educational Services (301-687-4311) or the University’s Title IX coordinator, Beth W. Hoffman (bhoffman@frostburg.edu, 301-687-4102).

Regardless of whether criminal charges are pursued, all instances of sexual assault are addressed by the University. Due to the sensitive nature of these reports, the University provides ongoing assistance to the students involved to clarify our processes, address concerns, answer questions, and refer victims to campus and community resources when appropriate.

Student and Educational Services staff undertake extensive continuing education (see a list of training modules here: www.frostburg.edu/home/news/university-news-portal/sexual-assault-student-conduct-administrator-training-undergone-by-student-and-educational-services-staff/) to protect and assist students involved in sexual assaults, respond to victims’ concerns and maintain the rights of the accused.

If the accused is a student, the University will initiate an investigation. Collaborative relationships with regional police agencies established over the past seven years have increased the likelihood that criminal cases will be made known to the University. FSU’s investigation occurs regardless of whether or not the survivor of sexual assault chooses to pursue campus disciplinary proceedings. We address every incident that violates FSU’s sexual misconduct policy, regardless of the outcome of criminal cases. OCR requires that universities address cases within 60 days, which is typically a far shorter time period than in a criminal case. Hearings at FSU are generally held within 20 days of the initial report.

There are significant differences between the student disciplinary process and a criminal investigation. In criminal court, individuals are prosecuted based on formal rules of evidence and guilt is weighed based on a standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Student Conduct Hearings are disciplinary in nature, not legal, and therefore are not held to strict rules of evidence. Any testimony or information relevant to the hearing may be admitted. Because of the different standards of proof, a student found “not guilty” in the criminal court system may still be found responsible for violating University policy.

Incidents that may be criminal and occur on campus are investigated by FSU Police. Incidents off campus, such as the one referenced in The Bottom Line’s article, are investigated by Frostburg City Police. Often, the Allegany Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (known as C3I) will take the lead on criminal investigations on or off campus. C3I includes representatives of all of the county’s law enforcement agencies, including FSU Police and Frostburg City Police. While FSU and City police have a joint jurisdiction agreement that allows officers from either agency to patrol the University neighborhood together and assist one another, City Police are primarily responsible for handling crimes occurring in the community. Decisions regarding criminal prosecution reside with the Maryland State’s Attorney for Allegany County.

More information is available from the President's Advisory Council Against Gender Based Violence, University Police, Brady Health Center or Student and Educational Services.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu